TEDxManhattan ADVENTURES 2015 

TEDxManhattan launched TEDxManhattan Adventures this year! Held the day after TEDxManhattan, on March 8, 2015, we deepened connections within the TEDxManhattan community and put ideas into action through unparalleled, behind-the-scenes access to speakers and the work they are doing in sustainable food and farming.

Extending the TEDx phenomenon beyond a single-day conference format, Adventures offer a platform for the food and farming community to interface with thought leaders on the forefront of sustainable food.  Participants can delve deeper into the concepts introduced through the TEDxManhattan talks, creating a dynamic discussion between the speaker and the audience.

16840443176_94e96f21cc_mFood for Thought, Food for Life Panel – Wholesome Wave and Google
National nonprofit Wholesome Wave teamed up with Google and TEDxManhattan to host one of the inaugural TEDxManhattan Adventures. Guests watched a new short film by Susan Rockefeller, “Food for Thought, Food for Life,” followed by a panel discussion moderated by Wholesome Wave CEO, Michel Nischan, including panelists Fred Kirschenmann (Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture), Peter Lehner (Executive Director of National Resources Defense Council),Gus Schumacher (Vice President of Wholesome Wave, Former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA), and Barbara Turk ( ‎Director of Food Policy at Office the of Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services). The film and subsequent panel focused on how the food system impacts our health, environment, communities, and economies, and serves as a conversation starter, inspiring us all to think differently about what we eat, and to make changes that will positively impact our health, our earth and our communities.

Animal Welfare Approved Grazin’ Bus Tour
16906616412_e1efc17687_mTEDxsters had a chance to see what Changing The Way We Eat looks like in action on the Grazin’ Bus Tour with Animal Welfare Approved.  First stop was Hudson’s Grazin’ Diner–the first U.S. restaurant serving only Certified AWA pasture-raised meat, eggs and dairy products for a delicious, affordable and sustainable brunch followed by Q & A with owners Dan Gibson and Andrew “Chip” Chiappinelli.  Then TEDxsters went straight to the source: Dan and Chip’s AWA certified Grazin’ Angus Acres farm to meet the animals – on AWA farms, they are raised outdoors on well-managed pasture or range, with no confinement in cages, crates, or feedlots. Upon returning to NYC, TEDxsters had a special pre-launch dinner at the new restaurant Grazin’ Tribeca. It was an amazing day, where TEDxsters tasted their way through the entire supply chain of this innovative farm-to-table operation!

Brunch with the Family! – The Creative Kitchen & Edible Schoolyard NYC 
The Creative Kitchen & Edible Schoolyard NYC held a kid-friendly culinary adventure, hosted at Whole Foods Market Tribeca, as part of TEDxManhattan 2015. Edible Schoolyard NYC taught one of their most popular edible education classes, “Herbs at Home”. TEDxsters learned techniques for transplanting and caring for herbs and had the opportunity to decorate their very own small herb planter. The Creative Kitchen then worked with the kids to make Playtime Pasta Salad, featuring colorful vegetables, whole grain pasta, and herbs they’ve just learned about!  Kids left with their bellies full, having had the opportunity to eat and enjoy what they’ made!

IMG_20150308_142824073_HDRA Tale of Two Food Brooklyns – New York City Coalition Against Hunger
Brooklyn is home to some of the finest artisanal food in the world. More and better gourmet cuisine has invaded Brooklyn like never before. At the same time, one in four Brooklyn children and one in five Brooklyn residents live in homes that can’t afford enough food. The NYCCAH tour explored this dichotomy, beginning at a local food pantry where TEDxsters met with food-insecure individuals. At the food pantry, TEDxsters had a spirited discussion on whether small scale-activist “labs” could be a substitute for large scale governmental change with NYCCAH Executive Director Joel Berg arguing that government change is the only way to solve hunger. Afterward, the Adventure continued with visits to local food shops and restaurants, offering some of Brooklyn’s finest grub.

2015-03-07-12.07.02-740x493Tap the Maple Tree: Sugar Shack Brunch at PRINT Restaurant 
The month of March is maple tapping season on the East Coast, and this year’s harvest is supposed to be one of the most prolific on record.  Even though there may be a shorter season this year, some scientists are predicting that it will be a particularly great year for sap. 2014 was what botanists call a “mast year,” which is when perennial trees like sugar maples synchronize their seed cycles, and all flower at about the same time. The theory is that in these years, maples will use their excess energy to produce more carbohydrates, which in turn means more sap. There was an interesting article about this in Forest Ecology and Management if you want to geek out over this with us. Once the sap begins to flow, it is collected in buckets hanging from the trees to be boiled into maple syrup — it takes 40 gallons of sap to make each gallon of maple syrup. PRINT celebrated this unique agricultural product by featuring regional maple farms in a prix fixe brunch menu, making TEDxsters feel like they are right at the sugar shack.  There were maple water (the tree sap) mock-tails and sugar was used in savory and sweet dishes.

16925765261_438cf8e2f7_mHydroponics and Vertical Urban Farming – Whole Foods and Gotham Greens
The Bowery Culinary Center hosted local Gotham Greens co-founder/CEO and Urban Agriculture TED Fellow Viraj Puri who shared his story of starting the first commercial-scale, hydroponic rooftop farm in Brooklyn in 2011. Changing the way we eat certainly includes changing the way we grow what we eat, and how we envision large-scale food production for future generations. As the cultural shift continues towards eating as sustainably and locally as possible, those of us who live in densely populated urban areas continue to navigate the challenges associated with making ethical, deliberate food choices.
 This is precisely why vertical urban farming is such an exciting part of today’s culinary conversation! Culinary Center Director Min Liao led the event with a Q & A with Viraj, who gave compelling answers about hydroponics and the science of growing tasty foods without soil (and how it all works in terms of design, logistics, etc.); running a small, unique business in the ever-changing sustainable food industry; and the challenges of vertical urban farming in densely populated, highly regulated cities; and the exciting future that lies ahead for greenhouse agriculture. TEDxsters learned about how hydroponic farming works; why it is beneficial and revolutionary; and why it can help shape the future of environmentally responsible agriculture. 
Along with fascinating discussion, the event was wrapped up with a cooking lesson given by Culinary Center Educator Wai Chu, who taught everyone (including Viraj!) how to make Vietnamese Summer Rolls with a variety of lettuces and herbs from Gotham Greens.

16865535021_d6cd3577e1_mRoundtable discussion – Innovation in the Food Space
Led by TEDxManhattan 2015 speaker Shen Tong, with participation from other leaders of his business accelerator Food-X, this panel featured graduates from Food-X’s inaugural class (Fall 2014). Discussion revolved around – macro trends in food innovation; what food will be 20 years from now; food startup best practices; and the day-in-the-life of a food entrepreneur.

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